Concept: Timothy Leary
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
- Published over 1 year ago
Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is the prototypical psychedelic drug, but its effects on the human brain have never been studied before with modern neuroimaging. Here, three complementary neuroimaging techniques: arterial spin labeling (ASL), blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) measures, and magnetoencephalography (MEG), implemented during resting state conditions, revealed marked changes in brain activity after LSD that correlated strongly with its characteristic psychological effects. Increased visual cortex cerebral blood flow (CBF), decreased visual cortex alpha power, and a greatly expanded primary visual cortex (V1) functional connectivity profile correlated strongly with ratings of visual hallucinations, implying that intrinsic brain activity exerts greater influence on visual processing in the psychedelic state, thereby defining its hallucinatory quality. LSD’s marked effects on the visual cortex did not significantly correlate with the drug’s other characteristic effects on consciousness, however. Rather, decreased connectivity between the parahippocampus and retrosplenial cortex (RSC) correlated strongly with ratings of “ego-dissolution” and “altered meaning,” implying the importance of this particular circuit for the maintenance of “self” or “ego” and its processing of “meaning.” Strong relationships were also found between the different imaging metrics, enabling firmer inferences to be made about their functional significance. This uniquely comprehensive examination of the LSD state represents an important advance in scientific research with psychedelic drugs at a time of growing interest in their scientific and therapeutic value. The present results contribute important new insights into the characteristic hallucinatory and consciousness-altering properties of psychedelics that inform on how they can model certain pathological states and potentially treat others.
The classical serotonergic psychedelics LSD, psilocybin, mescaline are not known to cause brain damage and are regarded as non-addictive. Clinical studies do not suggest that psychedelics cause long-term mental health problems. Psychedelics have been used in the Americas for thousands of years. Over 30 million people currently living in the US have used LSD, psilocybin, or mescaline.
A recent large population study of 130,000 adults in the United States failed to find evidence for a link between psychedelic use (lysergic acid diethylamide, psilocybin or mescaline) and mental health problems. Using a new data set consisting of 135,095 randomly selected United States adults, including 19,299 psychedelic users, we examine the associations between psychedelic use and mental health. After adjusting for sociodemographics, other drug use and childhood depression, we found no significant associations between lifetime use of psychedelics and increased likelihood of past year serious psychological distress, mental health treatment, suicidal thoughts, suicidal plans and suicide attempt, depression and anxiety. We failed to find evidence that psychedelic use is an independent risk factor for mental health problems. Psychedelics are not known to harm the brain or other body organs or to cause addiction or compulsive use; serious adverse events involving psychedelics are extremely rare. Overall, it is difficult to see how prohibition of psychedelics can be justified as a public health measure.
Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) is a potent serotonergic hallucinogen or psychedelic that modulates consciousness in a marked and novel way. This study sought to examine the acute and mid-term psychological effects of LSD in a controlled study.
- European neuropsychopharmacology : the journal of the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology
- Published over 1 year ago
Psychedelic drugs such as lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) were used extensively in psychiatry in the past and their therapeutic potential is beginning to be re-examined today. Psychedelic psychotherapy typically involves a patient lying with their eyes-closed during peak drug effects, while listening to music and being supervised by trained psychotherapists. In this context, music is considered to be a key element in the therapeutic model; working in synergy with the drug to evoke therapeutically meaningful thoughts, emotions and imagery. The underlying mechanisms involved in this process have, however, never been formally investigated. Here we studied the interaction between LSD and music-listening on eyes-closed imagery by means of a placebo-controlled, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study. Twelve healthy volunteers received intravenously administered LSD (75µg) and, on a separate occasion, placebo, before being scanned under eyes-closed resting conditions with and without music-listening. The parahippocampal cortex (PHC) has previously been linked with (1) music-evoked emotion, (2) the action of psychedelics, and (3) mental imagery. Imaging analyses therefore focused on changes in the connectivity profile of this particular structure. Results revealed increased PHC-visual cortex (VC) functional connectivity and PHC to VC information flow in the interaction between music and LSD. This latter result correlated positively with ratings of enhanced eyes-closed visual imagery, including imagery of an autobiographical nature. These findings suggest a plausible mechanism by which LSD works in combination with music listening to enhance certain subjective experiences that may be useful in a therapeutic context.
There is renewed interest in the therapeutic potential of psychedelic drugs such as lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). LSD was used extensively in the 1950s and 1960s as an adjunct in psychotherapy, reportedly enhancing emotionality. Music is an effective tool to evoke and study emotion and is considered an important element in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy; however, the hypothesis that psychedelics enhance the emotional response to music has yet to be investigated in a modern placebo-controlled study.
This paper considers the pleasures of psychedelic drugs and proposes a Deleuzian understanding of drugged pleasures as affects. In spite of a large body of work on psychedelics, not least on their therapeutic potentials, the literature is almost completely devoid of discussions of the recreational practices and pleasures of entheogenic drugs. Yet, most people do not use psychedelics because of their curative powers, but because they are fun and enjoyable ways to alter the experience of reality.
Interest in the potential therapeutic benefits of psychedelic agents has recently increased. In addition to psilocybin, a wide variety of agents with psychedelic properties have been proposed and partially tested. However, the challenges of obtaining approval to market a restricted psychotomimetic agent are formidable.
Given the plethora of new studies and published papers in the scientific press and the increasingly emerging presence of articles about positive psychedelic experiences appearing in the popular media, there is little doubt that we are in the midst of a Psychedelic Renaissance. The classical psychedelic drugs LSD and psilocybin and the entactogen MDMA are showing promise as tools to assist psychotherapy for a wide range of mental disorders, with multiple pilot studies demonstrating their safety and efficacy. In this article, the author describes how MDMA in particular has inherent characteristics that make it well suited for assisting trauma-focused psychotherapy in a population of patients who have experienced child abuse. But despite these advances, there remain many obstacles ahead of the widespread mainstream acceptance of psychedelic medicines. The author argues that the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 is one such obstacle. Other impediments include a prevailing attitude of pseudoscience and rigidity from within the non-scientific psychedelic community itself. Resolution of these conflicts must be sought if medicine and society are to see psychedelics gaining a place in mainstream culture and science.
New research has suggested the clinical use of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and psilocybin in selected patient populations. However, concerns about the clinical use of LSD were advanced in a large Danish follow-up study that assessed 151 LSD-treated psychiatric patients approximately 25 years after their treatment in the 1960s.